ISLAMABAD: The Lodhran NA-154, once a stronghold of PTI’s Tareen who won with a 40,000 lead last time, has fallen to PML-N despite that Nawaz, Shahbaz and even Hamza Shahbaz did not visit it for the election campaign while the PTI chief visited despite the ECP ban, as PML-N ordinary candidate clinched an overwhelming victory showing there is a huge support wave for the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and mood of the Punjab.
The verdict of people of Lodhran also shows that people have rejected the recent judgements against Nawaz Sharif and consider that the PML-N chief was targeted. Following the Panama judgement, the popularity of Nawaz Sharif is increasing with every passing day and the PML-N chief is addressing huge public rallies. The size of these rallies is increasing with every meeting. The recent PML-N public rallies in Peshawar and Muzzafarabad were unbelievably huge. The participants of these rallies were vibrant and communicating with Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz during their addresses through slogans and by responding to questions being asked to them.
There are chit chats among political gurus and analysts if a judgement against Sharif has made him so much popular among the masses, a judgement to sentence and sending jail to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz will take their polarity to the peak and PML-N may sweep the next elections by a two-thirds majority.
Leadership of PTI and its important closest allies are telling people that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz will be sent to jail after two or three weeks. “It’s a matter of days now,” these ‘allies’ are propagating with full certainty. These elements are also openly telling people that in cases of interpretation of 62(1)(f) and eligibility of party chief, the decisions will be against Nawaz Sharif. However, so far popularity of Nawaz Sharif is increasing and if it all happened according to the plan, keeping in view the ongoing sympathy wave against the victimisation of selected politicians, the PML-N will gain more and more popularity.
This realisation that PML-N is gaining huge popularity with every adverse decision against it, has rung alarm bells in PTI circles and in offices of its important and closet allies. There is thinking to change the plan but frustration because of failure all initial plans is not helping to devise new ones. According to PTI insiders, the original strategy was to break PML-N after getting all these judgements against the PML-N leadership and after sending Sharifs to jail but situation arose after the initial decision has completely dented the original plan. These PTI leaders now believe that another judgement against PML-N leadership and sending them to jail will give a further boost to their popularity.
Though there was a clear sympathy wave in response to Nawaz Sharif’s slogan ‘Mujhay kayoon Nikala’ in all cities of the upper Punjab, but many political pandits are of the view that PML-N is not that strong in Southern Punjab. This NA-154 constituency, where PML-N couldn’t win in 2013 general elections, lost in by-elections to Jahangir Tareen, was considered as a stronghold of PTI. It was a true understanding because it is alleged that Tareen has spent billions of rupees in this constituency. However, the clear decision by the people even from this area of the Punjab only a few months ahead of the general elections, has clearly reflected the decision of the rest of the Punjab. The strategy to use the religious parties to cut the PML-N vote has once again failed by the PML-N voters even in Lodhran following a similar contest in NA-120 a few months back. All cards have been played. All plans have miserably been failed. The frustration is touching skies. No one knows what will the next card, the next move from the PTI.
But, there is a fact that Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif is a lethal combination for the enemies and failing all moves of the planners. Shahbaz Sharif has undoubtedly delivered in Punjab. All analysts agree that developmental projects completed in Punjab are far more than any other province. Nawaz Sharif, on the other hand, is providing leadership and his popularity is increasing day by day.
Those close to Nawaz Sharif are telling him that his popularity is at the peaks now and he should go for general elections at the earliest but the census result and delimitation are problems in accepting this suggestion.
The failure of plans like use of religious votes, preparations of giving right to vote to overseas Pakistanis without completing required formalities, targeting PML-N active leaders - all this has pushed the PTI to think once again about their plan.
Apparently, a prediction of ‘peerni’ has proved false this time and a ‘peer’ has won. Few in the PTI also comment that the defeat is also a result of a news of 'marriage' of the PTI chief with an already married woman by getting her divorced by her husband, such an act is considered highly unethical in majority of the areas in Punjab. He PTI chief, according to a party press release, however, is waiting for the response of a proposal sent by him. It's too long but there is not response to the proposal. Maybe proposal is accepted after this apparently failed prediction.